Friday, November 13, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Hard to believe but it is once again that most wonderful time of the year: holiday shopping! Even though there are a million and one of these kinds of lists, I think there's room for one more. Cooler than Oprah's (sorry, but your Amazon-based list was pretty lame), more down to earth than Goop's (we don't all have Gwyneth's Black Card), it's the first annual PCD Gift Guide!

One of the things that I know about myself is that I'm a good gift giver (it started when I was a kid -- I was raised by a single mom, and by the time I was just 7 or 8 I was spending hours thinking about clever ways to surprise her with the most special things my allowance money could buy). I consider it my mission to make at least one person cry happy tears when they open their gift; one year, I got tears from everyone in my family -- it was awesome!

What makes a good gift-giver? I've always been observant, and I think that helps -- I tuck away lots of little tidbits of info and tap into it when it comes time for gift giving. I'm pretty creative, and I love looking in unexpected places to come up with a really fun and surprising gift. It doesn't hurt that I'm a pretty voracious shopper -- I see things every day that I fall in love with for one reason or another, and after my initial "I need that!" reaction passes, I often find that my coveted item would be a perfect present for someone on my list.

And really, I just adore the people in my life and love taking an opportunity to show it by spoiling them with great gifts. I'm a lucky girl.

I'll be sharing some of my favorite finds for the holiday season over the course of the next two weeks (11 parts in total). I was trying to figure out how to break up the guide and couldn't come up with clever categories (Best Gifts for Lactose-Intolerant Travel Lovers!), so I decided to just use the people on my own shopping list. Don't worry, I think it's a pretty relatable list and I'm sure you'll find some good inspiration for your loved ones!

Before we start, I thought I'd share a bit about my gift-giving philosophy. For me, a great gift should satisfy at least one of the following. I want gifts that...

Are a fun splurge -- I love a little bit of luxury, and I like to give presents that just make people happy (so if you want a vacuum cleaner or ink for your printer, ask someone else).

Can be used, experienced, or consumed -- I am hyper aware of the fact that most of us have way too much "stuff", and we really don't need to accumulate more clutter. I like gifts that are meant to be consumed and enjoyed -- things to do, things to eat, things to use up.

Show some personality -- it is super easy to default to a generic gift: soaps, candles, ties, calendars. Make sure your gift shows that you know the specific tastes and interests of your recipient (and if you aren't sure, ask someone who is). And if you can't find a way to incorporate their personality, definitely make sure to show some of yours! (For example...last year I bought my brother a FitBit because that's what he really wanted, and for some reason decided to wrap it using a printout of an x-ray of my foot. It made a boring gift a lot more fun -- we all laughed for hours.)

Feel complete -- one of the things that takes a gift from good to great is adding a thoughtful extra: a cool mug and some great coffee or tea to go with it, a DVD set and some interesting snacks to eat while binge-watching. I like to think about the full experience of using the gift -- it helps make sure that you're really buying the right thing (sure those wacky elf slippers are funny, but can you picture your sister actually wearing them?), and let's the person you're giving it to know that you really put some thought into their gift.

Giving presents is the best...let's start shopping!

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